Open Season for Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) is quickly approaching. It will run from November 14-December 12, 2016. The new premiums for the 2017 year will start in January 2017. This Open Season will allow any Federal employee or retiree a chance to keep their current benefits, change plans, or enroll for the first time.
The rates will be increasing by an average of 4.4 percent, with some seeing an increase of 6.2 percent. This is less than the 6.4 percent increase seen last year. The government share will be increasing by 3.7 percent. What this means is that those enrolled in the self-plan will see an increase of $5.27 biweekly. Enrollees on the self plus one plan will see an increase of $10.32 biweekly. Finally, those on the family plan will see a $12.97 increase biweekly. Dental premiums are rising by 1.9 percent and vision by 6.3 percent.
Federal retirees are expected to feel the brunt of this rise in premiums. With only a 1.6 percent pay increase and small COLA expected in 2017, raises in premiums are hard to swallow. Combine these increases with an expected rise in Medicare Part B of up to 22 percent and the massive increase in FLTCIP premiums. Because of these, federal employees and retirees are faced with tough financial decisions about health care and their future. The last 6 years have shown pay raises of only 3.3 percent and FEHBP premiums increased by 27.8 percent. That’s a huge difference that has a major impact. The fear is that federal employees and retirees will not be able to afford coverage and will be forced to drop it altogether.
However, the addition of coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis is good news. This helps with the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This coverage is required for all FEHB plans.
To learn more about these plans, click here.